The text of the laws regarding solicitation of charitable funds can be found on the Legislature's website.
Please see Not-for-Profit and Charities Forms to download copies of all applicable forms.
Receiving a Certificate of Solicitation
Prior to soliciting contributions in Massachusetts, or having other solicit contributions on its behalf, a charitable organization must obtain a valid Certificate of Solicitation from the Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division of the Attorney General's Office (AGO). This Certificate must be renewed on a yearly basis.
To receive or renew your Certificate of Solicitation, you must complete Schedule A-1 and Schedule A-2 of the Form PC and submit it to the AGO, along with the rest of Form PC, other required attachments, and the appropriate filing fee. No fee in addition to the Form PC filing fee is required.
If a registered charity wishes to begin soliciting prior to the due date of its first Form PC, it may submit a Schedule A-2 and a $50 check to the AGO as application for a Certificate of Solicitation.
A charity required to have a Certificate of Solicitation cannot begin soliciting funds or having funds solicited on its behalf until all contracts with professional fundraising counsel, commercial co-venturers, or professional solicitors have been filed with the AGO.
Professional solicitors, commercial co-Venturers, and professional fundraising counsel
Professional solicitors, commercial co-venturers, and professional fundraising counsel are also required to register annually with the AGO. Professional Fundraiser Forms are available on the AGO's website.
There are certain disclosures which professional solicitors, commercial co-venturers, and professional fundraising counsel must make in the course of their charitable solicitations.
M.G.L. c. 68, s. 18, defines commercial co-venturer, professional fundraising counsel, professional solicitor, and solicitation.
Charitable organization not required to have a Certificate of Solicitation
The following two categories of charitable organizations are not required to have a Certificate of Solicitation:
- An organization that is primarily religious in purpose and falls under the regulations 940 CMR 2.00; or
- An organization that does not raise or receive contributions from the public in excess of $5,000 during a calendar year or does not receive contributions from more than ten persons during a calendar year, if all of their functions, including fundraising activities, are performed by persons who are not paid for their services and if no part of their assets or income inures to the benefit of, or is paid to, any officer or members.
However, such an organization must register and apply for a Certificate of Solicitation within 30 days after contributions received from the public during a given year have exceeded $5,000.
If the organization has registered in a prior year, but is not up-to-date in its annual filings with the AGO, then it must file the most recent four years of annual Form PC filings along with all required attachments and annual filing fees.